Останий Дзвоник (Last Bell)

Ukrainian schools have a tradition at the end of May called Останий Дзвоник (“ostany dzvonyk”), or “Last Bell,” which happens on the morning after the last day of classes. It’s an hour-long ceremony to honor everyone – but especially the graduating 11th-formers – and officially close school for the year.

All the pupils dress up and assemble in order around the school yard. Then out marches the Queen of Knowledge – this year one of my 11th-formers, Dana – followed by her “ladies,” six of my adorable 2nd-formers in white dresses. They lead the rest of the 11th Form, which lines up in the middle of the yard.

Dana, Queen of Knowledge, followed by my 2nd-formers Ksenia, Khrystina, Natalia, Yulia, Lesya, Alina

People – the priests, school director, town administration leaders – make short speeches.

Then it’s time for Dana to pass her crown to another pupil; usually it’s a rising 11th-former, but this year’s 10th form is not strong so they were skipped and Dana passed her crown to Nazar, one of my 9th-formers, who became King of Knowledge. He was dressed to fit the part, with four little princes in tow. I felt a little like I was in a fairy tale.

Nazar approaches to be crowned King of Knowledge

Dana passing her crown to Nazar

And finally, the last bell is rung by a 1st-former carried on the shoulders of an 11th-former. This reminded me a little of the “passing the banner” part of Harley (my high school) graduation.

Ringing the last bell

But wait! The last waltz must be danced. Each 11th-former chooses a teacher/administrator for a short dance.

Last Waltz

Lastly, each 11th-former releases a pigeon into the sky, to send off their school days. Beautiful.

After the ceremony, pupils give flowers to their favorite teachers. Yes, I got quite a few flowers. J They also go picture-happy, which I was excited about because I don’t have many pictures with my pupils. I was able to get some good ones today:

Some of my (favorite, shh don’t tell!) 9th-formers, from L: Vitaliy, Natalia, Christina, Christina, Nazar, me, Hanna, Tanya, Vika, Serhiy, Olha, & I don’t know who the girl in front is

With more 9th-formers, from L: Christina, Natalia, Nazar, me, Hanna, Vika, Oksana (front)

With the 3A class! Adorable and really strong pupils. I won’t list all their names b/c I don’t know them all

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4 thoughts on “Останий Дзвоник (Last Bell)

  1. Onionjuggler says:

    Hah! That ceremony is way more interesting than how we graduate. I want to dress up as a princess and release a pigeon and then waltz with my teachers. Jealous.

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